The New York Yankees have one of the top farm systems in all of baseball and not only do they have quality prospects, they have some of the best depth around. With that in mind this offseason we are going to run down the top five prospects at each position, starting with left-handed pitching prospects.
Honorable Mention: Trevor Lane
First up is our honorable mention, 23-year-old reliever Trevor Lane. Lane was the Yankees 10th round draft pick out of the University of Illinois-Chicago and went on to make his professional debut, throwing 15 1/3 innings between the Gulf Coast League and NY-Penn League where he allowed just 1 run over 13 games and struck out 13 batters.
This past season Lane split the season between the South Atlantic League and the Florida State League where he went a combine d6-4 with a 1.52 ERA in 65 1/3 innings over 37 games. He struck out 69 batters while allowing 15 walks.
#5 – Stephen Tarpley
The Yankees acquired Tarpley has a player-to-be-named-later in the Ivan Nova deal and was ranked as high as #16 in the Pirates organization before the trade. The lefty appeared in just one game for the Tampa Yankees in 2016 before being shut down for the rest of the season.
After missing the first half of the 2017 season he came back, this time as a reliever and dominated in 14 games for the Tampa Yankees. In 30 2/3 innings in the Florida State League in 2017, he struck out 36 batters, walked 16 and allowed only 4 hits and no runs. He went on to make his Double-A debut on August 20, 2017, with two shutout innings.
With the Thunder, Tarpley appeared in four games, striking out 6 in 10 1/3 innings and allowing 4 runs and 2 walks in the regular season. He went on to throw just one shutout inning in the playoffs.
#4 – Nestor Cortes
Nestor Cortes, 22, was originally drafted by the Yankees in the 36th round of the 2013 draft out of Hialeah Senior High School. Since joining the organization, he has been impressive with a 25-14 overall record and 2.08 ERA in 324 1/3 innings. He struck out 344 total batters and walked 76 in his career.
This past season Cortes pitched at three different levels including the Florida State League, Eastern League and the International League. He spent most of the season in Double-A with the Thunder where he was 5-0 with a 2.60 ERA over 18 games where he struck out 45 in 52 innings. In Triple-A he went 2-4 with a 1.49 ERA and 57 strikeouts over 48 1/3 innings.
Between all three levels Cortes ended the season with a 7-4 record and a 2.06 ERA and 105 strikeouts in
#3 – James Reeves
The Yankees drafted Reeves, 24, in the 10th round of the 2015 drat out of The Citadel. The former starter was promptly moved into the bullpen where he spent the majority of his professional career. He owns a career 11-3 record and a 2.28 ERA, striking out 195 batters in 169 2/3 innings.
This season he started the year on the disabled list after suffering a ligament sprain in his elbow in spring training. He came back in May with the Tampa Yankees where he went 2-0 with a 2.52 ERA over 20 games where he struck out 41 batters in 35 2/3 innings.
His strong performance earned him a promotion to Double-A on August 12 where he was 2-0 and did not allow a run on seven hits and struck out 10 batters in 10 1/3 innings.
#2 – Josh Rogers
Lefty Josh Rogers had built a solid career since being drafted by the Yankees in the 11th round of the 2015 draft. In 44 career minor league games, 39 starts, he struck out 211 batters in 241 1.3 innings and has held opponents to a .242 batting average against.
This past season he started the year off in Tampa where he went 4-3 with a 2.22 ERA in eight starts, striking out 51 batters in 52 2/3 innings pitched. He earned a promotion to Trenton on May 26 and in his first taste of Double-A he started seven games for the Thunder where he was 4-2 with a 4.62 ERA and 29 strikeouts in 39 innings pitched.
Rogers’ season ended early when on July 18 he was placed on the disabled list with left-elbow soreness. He ended up having surgery to have a bone spur removed and is expected to be back for Spring Training.
#1 – Justus Sheffield
Sheffield, 21, came over to the Yankees as part of the Andrew Miller and has been impressive. After going 3-1 in five games with the Tampa Yankees in 2016 he had a 1-game cameo in Double-A before the season ended.
This past season Sheffield returned to Double-A where he was 7-6 with a 3.18 ERA over 17 starts and struck out 82 batters in 93 1/3 innings. He missed a large chunk of the season after being placed on the disabled list in July with a strained right oblique but returned in late August with two games in the GCL before returning to the Thunder on September 3. He went on to make two more starts in the play offs allowing 2 runs in 8 1/3 innings and striking out 9 batters.